Andy Hawthorne

Andy Hawthorne

Projects, photos and running

30 Apr 2020

Getting Close to Your Subject

Reading time: 2 minute(s) - 400 words


This is about getting in close to your subject. That doesn’t always mean macro photography. That’s something a bit different. Closeups are still fun, though. Here’s why…

Looking at ordinary, everyday stuff with your photographers eyes in shows you a whole new world. You will do some post processing of the photos you take. But the initial picture you see is where it all starts.

In the photo above, it’s my watch on charge. So what? Boring and ordinary, right?

I don’t think so. When you move in close you can see the simplicity of design, the clean lines and the precise placement of each component. Turn it greyscale and you get a stronger sense of those things.


Here’s a couple of spoons. I’d just washed them up. The metallic surfaces and the foam created an interesting set of shapes and patterns. That’s what caught my eye.

Again, the greyscale (or monochrome if your prefer) post processing has made for a strong symmetrical image.

Moving in close emphasises shape, form and patterns

If you are wondering about all the monochrome stuff…


Colour works too. But for me, only where the colour palette is simple. These apples caught my eye because the light was revealing the texture of the skin.

Sometimes, a moment in time helps the photograph you want. In this next shot, it was the shadow on the wall behind the pencils as much as the pencils themselves that caught my eye.


Seeing ordinary things in closeup does open up a world of new photographic subjects. You will learn stuff about depth of field. And you’ll learn to see shape, form and pattern more than you have before.

I took all the above photos with my 18-55mm kit lens set to 55mm. I used natural light, usually with f/5.6 aperture. Most DSLR cameras have a macro setting. I wouldn’t bother with that. Use aperture priority mode to get control over the depth of field.

You can do these types of photos with your smartphone. I’ve tried it out using the camera+ 2 app for iOS. It has a macro mode that works well.

Either way, during these strange times, trying out some closeup work is good fun. Give it a go.

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